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Episode 10, available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and YouTube

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“For many of us non-believers, our lack of belief, our stance, as non-believers, is just as important and just as precious and just as life-affirming and just as meaningful to us as the identity of who we are as human beings, as their faith is to them.”

Dan Barker, a former evangelical preacher, narrates his powerful journey out of religion - how his beliefs slowly changed over many years. He is now the co-president of The Freedom From Religion Foundation which uses lawsuits to ensure the separation of church and state, and The Clergy Project, which supports active religious leaders who no longer “hold to supernatural beliefs."

About Dan Barker (quotes from Wikipedia):

“Daniel Edwin Barker is an American atheist activist and musician who served as an evangelical Christian preacher and composer for 19 years but left Christianity in 1984. He and his wife Annie Laurie Gaylor are the current co-presidents of the Freedom From Religion Foundation.”

Time Stamps:

(01:17) Dan talks about the circumstances that led him to become a believer and an evangelical Christian preacher
(06:20) Dan’s Christian musical background
(13:06) On beliefs and religion
(22:45) Understanding Christianity and evolution more deeply
(27:48) About the Adam and Eve story
(30:15) Dan speaks further about the evolution of his beliefs
(38:17) What was the intention behind the creation of the Freedom From Religion Foundation?
(47:03) Dan talks about the different services that The Clergy Project offers
(48:37) What are the resources available to members of the clergy who no longer believe?
(53:50) How Dan faced the truth of his beliefs
(01:03:10) Dan’s beliefs about religion in America today
(01:10:14) The most persuasive observations and arguments from members of The Clergy Project that changed that caused a perspective shift in people

Quotes:

“If I was not a true Christian, then nobody is.”

“I developed those skills, speaking, public speaking, preaching, and music, playing the piano, writing songs and doing music. A lot of my ministry was a combination of that. So my beliefs formed my ministry.”

“I was preaching less about hell, less about damnation, less about the afterlife, and I started preaching more about love, and living this life; my whole theology and sermons started to migrate. ”

“I think even a believing pastor, a believing Christian would prefer that you not live the lie. They prefer that you come out and admit that you don't believe.”

The only way to attract people is to be attractive. The only way you can, is to say something reasonable and sensible, that taps into what they want and need in their lives.”

“For many of us non-believers, our lack of belief, our stance, as non-believers, is just as important and just as precious and just as life-affirming and just as meaningful to us as the identity of who we are as human beings, as their faith is to them.”

“I shouldn't use the word epiphany because it's not an epiphany, but self-realization of who I was as a person on this planet as a biological animal in a natural environment. And there is no spiritual world.”

Relevant Links:

Organizations mentioned:

Books Mentioned:

People mentioned (quotes from Wikipedia):

  • Richard Dawkins - “A British evolutionary biologist and author”
  • Daniel Dennett - “A(n) American philosopher, writer, and cognitive scientist whose research centers on the philosophy of mind, philosophy of science, and philosophy of biology, particularly as those fields relate to evolutionary biology and cognitive science”
  • Anne Nicol Gaylor - “A(n) American atheist and reproductive rights advocate”
  • Annie Laurie Gaylor - “A(n) American atheist, secular and women's rights activist and a co-founder of – and, with her husband Dan Barker, a current co-president of – the Freedom From Religion Foundation”

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